By Chris Cowan
This timeline is the result of 4 months worth of work
compiling information from several sources: Bits and pieces pulled from
various Internet sites, forum posts and my own personal collection of park
brochures and memories from visiting the park regularly since 1982. One
site I found particularly useful during my initial research was:
Thanks to Mark Harris for brochure scans and year corrections.
All images of park brochures, maps and logos are
courtesy of Paramount's Kings Island. Used by permission.
Kings Island, owned by Taft Broadcasting, officially opens on April 29,
1972 after 2 years of construction.
Located approximately 30 miles north of
Cincinnati, it replaces Coney Island, which was not only out of room to
expand, but was also prone to flooding at its riverbank location near
At its opening, King's Island features a 1/3 scale replica of the
Eiffel Tower (which is still the centerpiece of the park today) and its
signature ride, the Racer, a wooden roller coaster widely accepted as the
ride that started a new frenzy of coaster building.
Other rides at opening:
Bavarian Beetle, Canoe Ride, Der Spinning Keggers, Enchanted Voyage,
Eagles, Giant Slide, Haley’s Comet, Kings Mill Log Flume,
Rotor, Scrambler, Sky Ride, Tumble Bug and Wheel of Fortune.
section, titled "The Happy Land of Hanna-Barbera" features rides such as the
Sunshine Turnpike and Scooby Doo, a kid's wooden roller coaster.
The other theme areas are: International Street
(main gates, fountains, shopping), Oktoberfest
(German themed), Coney Island (themed as a
classic midway) and Rivertown (water themed).
Bayern Curve (Schwarzkopf Bayern Curve) is added.
Kenton’s Cove Keelboat Canal (log flume) is added.
Flying Dutchman (spinning ride with cars themed as wooden shoes)
The International Restaurant is added over the front gates.
"The Brady Bunch" films an episode on location at Kings Island.
Lion Country Safari & Monorail
added on 100 acres. The air-conditioned monorail ride is an additional
armed Ferris wheel) is added.
Shake Rattle & Roll (Huss Troika)
Heritage Music Hall is added.
Research and design for The Beast begins.
Screamin’ Demon (Arrow shuttle loop roller
coaster) is added.
Canoe Ride is removed at end
of the season to make room for The Beast.
Forty five riders are stranded on
the Sky Ride for as long as 8 hours after high winds cause the ride to jam.
No new rides
Construction begins on The Beast.
The Beast is
added and it quickly becomes the new signature ride. It opens with the
tagline "...the biggest, baddest, longest, fastest wooden roller coaster in
Bavarian Beetle, Haley’s Comet and
Sky Ride are removed at the
end of the season.
Scooby Doo children's coaster is
renamed The Beastie and a tunnel is added at the bottom of the first drop.
The Bat, the
world's first suspended roller coaster, is added.
The Rotor is removed at
the end of season.
Carousel, McScrappy’s Farm and Jelly Bean Bowl are added in
Ferris Wheel and Viking Fury (pirate ship) are added in
Timberwolf Amphitheater is built.
of the Racer is turned backwards.
Winterfest is held for the first time this year.
The Festhaus is added in Oktoberfest.
A walkthrough exhibit is added to the Wild Animal
Habitat (formerly Lion Country Safari)
in addition to the monorail ride.
At the end of the year, Taft's park general managers and
several company vice presidents purchase two-thirds of Taft's interest in
the amusement park business and form their own corporation, King's
Entertainment Company (KECO).
North America's first stand-up coaster, is added.
Enchanted Voyage is reworked as
The Bat, plagued by maintenance problems
since its introduction, is removed at the end of the season. (NOTE:
Contrary to popular rumor, no one was ever killed or seriously injured on
Admission is $13.50. Season passes are
Canyon (white water rapids raft ride) is added.
Tumble Bug is removed at the end of the season.
The Flying Eagles ride is moved to the back to the park.
The Flying Carpet (giant slide) is moved to
Hanna-Barbera Land and renamed
The Coney Island
area is renamed "Coney Mall" and gets a
bright new look and three new rides:
o Skylab (Huss Skylab in the area vacated by Tumble
o Zephyr (in the area of the former Flying Carpet) and
(although, technically, Dodgems is not new. It moves to the Flying Eagles
old spot, is made larger, and has more cars added.)
The Cinema 180 Theatre is also added to
Arrow "mega-looper" steel coaster with 6 inversions, is added.
The Zodiac is SBNO this entire season.
Screamin’ Demon is removed at end of the
season and eventually sold to Camden Park in Huntington, West Virginia.
It operated there from 1988 until 1999, was SBNO during the 2000 through
2004 seasons, and was removed in November of 2004.
Amazon Falls, a shoot-the-chutes water
ride, is added in the area vacated by the Screamin’ Demon.
remains SBNO this season.
Water Works (12 acre water park) is
added. It includes:
o 15 water slides,
o a lazy river and
"Splash Island" (children's area).
The Zodiac and Der Spinning Keggers are
removed at end of the season.
Commander is added in the area vacated by The Zodiac.
Rushing River, a 700-foot family inner-tube
raft ride is added to Water Works,
expanding it to 15 acres.
Flying Dutchman is removed at end of the season and sold to Kentucky
Kingdom in Louisville, Kentucky.
The Ferris Wheel is also removed at the
end of this season.
Express (Arrow mine train coaster) is added in the area vacated by Flying
Boats and water are removed from The Smurfs
Enchanted Voyage and it is reworked as Phantom Theater.
Scooby Zoom, kids
steel roller coaster with 8 ft drop, is added in the space that was formerly
the outside boat-loading area for The Smurfs Enchanted Voyage.
purchases King's Entertainment Company on July 31, 1992.
becomes Paramount’s Kings Island.
A suspended roller coaster, to be named
Thunder Road by the former owners, is added and named Top Gun, beginning
Paramount’s trend of naming most major new rides after one of their movies or
Top Gun is located in what was once part of the
Wild Animal Habitat and
has the longest queue in the park.
The Wild Animal Habitat & Monorail are closed at the end of the
Thunder (motion simulator ride) is added in a previously undeveloped area
between the turnaround points of the Racer tracks.
The Wild Animal Habitat
theme area is renamed Adventure Village.
Sunshine Turnpike and The Scrappy
Slide are removed at end of the season.
Splat City is added in the area vacated by The Scrappy Slide and Sunshine
Extreme Skyflyer (upcharge attraction) is added.
Flight Commander is removed at end of
Flight of Fear is added in a previously undeveloped area on the far side of
the Racer tracks.
Water Works nearly doubles in size to almost 30
Surfside Bay, a 600,000 gallon wave pool,
o a sunning area
o Buccaneer Island, a new children’s play area.
a body-board surfing attraction, is added to Water Works.
Three new rides
are added to Hanna-Barbera Land:
o Scooby’s Ghoster Coaster,
o Yogi’s Sky Tours
o Atom Ant’s Airways.
Scooby Zoom is renamed Top Hat's Taxi Jam.
The Adventure Village
theme area is renamed Paramount’s Action Zone and two rides are
added to this area:
Amazon Falls is renamed Congo Falls ("Congo" is a
Paramount movie title).
o Drop Zone (Intamin Giant Drop) and
o Face/Off (Vekoma Invertigo roller coaster).
Son of Beast construction begins.
Son of Beast, a
wooden "hyper" coaster with a vertical loop, is added in part of the former
Wild Animal Habitat.
Seatbelts are installed on the Beastie.
redesigned on Scooby’s Ghoster Coaster.
King’s Mill Log
Flume, one of the few rides remaining that was moved from the original Coney
Island park, is SBNO this season.
Central is added as a new theme area, replacing the upper part of
Land and the lower part of
King’s Mill Log Flume, renovated and
renamed as The Wild Thornberry’s, reopens as part of the new
Nick Central area.
The name “Outer Limits” is dropped from the ride now known as simply
“Flight of Fear” and the shoulder bars are replaced with lap bars.
Cove Keelboat Canal is removed at the end of the season.
The Ride (an enclosed Huss Giant Topspin) is added in the area vacated
by Kenton’s Cove Keelboat Canal.
King Cobra is removed at the beginning of the
Vortex gets repainted.
The Beast's sled brakes are replaced with magnetic brakes.
Theater's last day of operation is July 14th. Construction on a new ride
immediately begins in the building.
On July 16th, during a morning test
run, an empty train on Top Gun collides with a maintenance vehicle parked
too near the track, causing the first three cars to derail and become badly
damaged. Top Gun reopens with the one remaining train on July 18th.
Two new rides are added:
o Scooby Doo and the Haunted Castle (a Sally
interactive dark ride), located in the former Phantom Theater
building and using the same cars (although modified as "Mystery Mobiles") and track.
o Delirium (a Huss Giant Frisbee), located on a portion of the former King Cobra site
and situated to swing out over the Action Zone midway.
SpongeBob SquarePants, a 3-D motion simulator film, is added in
Paramount's Action F/X Theater.
Metal detectors are added at the front gates.
The fountains on International Street are refurbished and repainted.
A large American Flag is added to the Eiffel Tower.
The turn after the first drop on The Beast is re-profiled.
Top Gun's second train re-appears with four new cars.
The queue area is extended for Drop Zone.
Most of the theme effects on Adventure Express are refurbished.
Octoberfest Gardens is remodeled and renamed Bubba Gump's Shrimp
Water Works is totally refurbished with
an Australian theme and is renamed Crocodile
Dundee's Boomerang Bay.
Antique Cars are removed.
Flying Eagles are removed and sent to Paramount's Carowinds, where
they are installed in 2005 as Phantom Flyers.
Italian Job: Stunt Track (Premier Rides steel roller coaster)